Stuckey's late jumper lifts Pistons over Wizards
WASHINGTON—Rodney Stuckey scored half of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning 20-foot jumper with 0.2 seconds left, and the offensively-challenged Detroit Pistons ended a five-game losing streak by erasing a 13-point deficit to beat the Washington Wizards 79-77 Monday night.
Detroit managed to win despite being held below 80 points for the third game in a row; that last happened to the Pistons in December 2003.
Greg Monroe, who played home games on the Wizards' court while at Georgetown, had 10 points and 10 rebounds, including a putback off a miss by Tayshaun Prince with 23 seconds remaining to put Detroit ahead 76-75. After Detroit's Ben Wallace made one free throw, Washington's Nene tied it at 77 on a hook shot with 5.8 seconds to go.
That left enough time for Stuckey to get up court and pull up for the decisive shot that capped a comeback against the no-lead-is-safe Wizards. Stuckey missed the past three games with a sore big left toe.
Jordan Crawford led Washington with 20 points, and John Wall had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. But Wall also went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Washington scored the second half's initial eight points to lead 43-30. And while Washington lost its previous two home games despite leading one by 22 and the other by 16, those were against playoff-bound Indiana and Atlanta.
This was against Detroit, which like Washington is headed for the draft lottery.
These are two of the worst teams in the NBA. Neither has a chance of making the playoffs: Detroit entered Monday at 16-32 and last in the Central Division, while the Wizards came in 11-37 and the only reason they weren't last in the Southeast Division is that Charlotte resides there.
The Pistons shot 28 of 76 (36.8 percent) in the game and accumulated more turnovers (13) than buckets (10) in the first half.
It didn't help Washington that it was playing its third game in three nights, the team's first of those rough stretches the NBA worked into the schedule in order to help it cram in 66 games after the lockout-shortened the calendar. The Wizards now have lost four games in a row.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the evening came when Pistons rookie guard Brandon Knight hurdled over the team's sideline seats in pursuit of a loose ball with a little more than 3 minutes left, upending a jug of energy drink and paper cups, spraying himself and some seated teammates.
The game was delayed for a bit while Knight was toweled off -- and some of the game's most enthusiastic applause came in response to overhead video-board replays of his valiant and athletic effort.
The loudest cheers, actually, arrived a few moments later, when every fan "won" a free chicken sandwich from a food chain because an opponent (in this case, Ben Wallace) missed both foul shots.
The Wizards took their double-digit lead in the third quarter despite starting the game 0 for 10 on 3-point tries. That drought ended, surprisingly enough, when Wall made one; the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft was 2 for 27 from beyond the arc this season until then.
The first quarter was about as ugly as professional basketball gets. The Pistons missed their first six field goal attempts and finally made one on Stuckey's end-to-end layup at the 7:13 mark.
Detroit wound up 5 for 19 in the quarter -- 26.3 percent.
The Wizards weren't much better, though, making 7 of 21 shots -- 33.3 percent -- and trailed 16-14.
Yes, 30 total points for both teams after a full quarter of NBA action.
The quality of play didn't really improve in the second quarter. There were air balls. Passes thrown into the crowd. Finger rolls that rolled off the rim.
Indeed, Detroit's scoring output actually declined over the game's second 12-minute segment, to 14 points. So its halftime total of 30 -- five fewer than Washington -- matched Detroit's lowest for a half this season.
NOTES: The Wizards were without F Trevor Booker because of right knee tendinitis. ... Washington won the teams' first meeting this season by 21 points on Feb. 12. ... Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps was in a courtside seat near the Wizards' bench.